A Grammar of Pashto: A Descriptive Study of the Dialect of Kandahar, Afghanistan

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Pashto is a language spoken by at least 40 million people in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan and in the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan. Estimates of the number of Pashto speakers range from 40 million to 60 million, which should make it among the most widely spoken languages in the world. One source ranks it as number 20 in the world in the number of speakers of the language. Another source ranks it as number 35. However, most sources do not rank it at all. The language seems to be virtually unknown except among those in contact with it. This is at least in part due to the nature of the people who speak Pashto. At one time, Pashto was spoken primarily by desert tribal people. The Kuchi tribes, nomads who live out in the desert with their herds of sheep and camels, all speak Pashto. The Kuchis have little need for reading and writing and almost all are illiterate. As a result, there is little Pashto literature, except for songs and poetry. In Afghanistan, there are few if any books and newspapers in Pashto. In Pakistan, the situation is a bit better, but not much.

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